Wade to Chicago: Legitimate Interest or Master Strategy?
For as promising as the new season had started for the Miami Heat on day one, things have taken a turn for the decidedly worse on day two.
Dwyane Wade’s decision to grant the Bulls a second meeting has columnists suggesting it was more than just a courtesy visit and South Floridians panicking over the prospect of losing their MVP-caliber shooting guard.
Dwyane Wade is leaning toward committing to the Chicago Bulls, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com’s Chad Ford on Friday.
According to the source, Wade requested a second meeting with Bulls shortly after the 2006 NBA Finals MVP spent more than two hours getting wooed by the New York Knicks at a downtown Chicago hotel Friday morning. The source stressed that Wade needed the meeting to clarify issues around signing with the Bulls.
Up until today, it was deemed ludicrous that Wade would ever leave the Heat. People weren’t pitching him; he was pitching for them.
This news is absolutely shocking.
Despite published reports, the potential addition of Wade in Chicago is likely not in combination with Lebron James or Chris Bosh. The Bulls simply don’t have the cap space. The last cap estimate provided by Commissioner David Stern was $56.1 million at the start of the playoffs. The Bulls would only have enough room for a $13,838,492 offer after signing one maximum free agent. That number is below the second max threshold by $2,730,417 – an amount which can not be bridged without first moving Luol Deng.
Instead, the likely pairing might just be with Carlos Boozer David Lee. That would make for a fairly lethal combination in Chicago – Rose, Wade, Deng, Boozer/Lee and Noah. It could also force James to reconsider his hometown Cavs, and would leave the Heat twisting in the wind with nearly $49 million of spending money and absolutely nobody of substantial quality to spend it on.
Or could this all just be Dwyane’s best head-fake ever, a master strategy designed to inspire a grand sense of hope in the Windy City and hinder the chances of his adopted hometown Heat’s biggest free agency rival from securing premium talent?
I only ask myself why Wade would drop this bombshell on us all the day before Chicago’s meeting with Lebron James. Could it be to muck things up?
The math suggests we could all be over-reacting. Dwyane is not one to consider throwing away guaranteed money. Unlike the Raptors and Cavs, the Heat has nothing to gain from trading away its franchise player in a sign-and-trade transaction. The freed-up cap space would be more valuable than anything the Bulls would be willing to offer. So teaming up with James in Chicago would be effectively throwing away as much as $45 million, and a stand-alone signing would be tossing aside as much as $30 million.
Anecdotal evidence does as well.
The world just saw tweets and pictures of Dwyane laughing it up at dinner with Chris Bosh last night. Did that look like the face of a man who was contemplating an enormous change of heart? If the two were indeed contemplating joining forces in Chicago, do you think either man would be willing to take such a significant pay cut?
Further encouraging is that Wade is planning to return to South Florida next Tuesday to host a publicity event in Davie at Nova Southeastern University. You just don’t schedule that type of event for yourself if you have any intention whatsoever of donning a rival jersey by then.
I wish I could definitively state that this is all just one big charade designed to cause major distraction to a host of teams which really can’t afford to lose focus.
But my instincts tell me not to panic just yet.